Meet a Viniyoga Therapist - Jill Dunkley, Ontario, Canada

Friday, October 07, 2011 -

When you watch Gary working with a client, you see the many levels of his powers of observation. I feel grateful for the teachings I have received.

Jill Dunkley
AVI Viniyoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist Graduate
Ontario, Canada

Jill’s first brief experience with yoga was a bright light in a dark period of early adulthood that planted a seed she never forgot. It gave her a sense of grounding, love, and compassion.

Ten years later, in her mid-thirties, she found herself travelling alone to India to explore the idea of making a deeper commitment to yoga. While there her spiritual experiences were transformational despite bouts of severe illness and solitude. She trekked alone to the source of the Ganges. “I touched the icy cold water emerging from Gomukh, the glacier at the source of the Ganges. It felt as if I was returning to the very source of who I was. It was here that I made a commitment to myself to become a full time yoga instructor.” It was after this that she travelled to Dharamsala and was fortunate enough to meet the Dalai Lama and explore more deeply the philosophy of Buddhism. From there she travelled to the remote northwest mountains of India on the Tibetan Plateau. She became very ill here and convalesced in the home of a generous and kind Buddhist Ladakhi family. The deep spiritual connection these people had to the land affirmed to Jill the importance of a simple and sustainable lifestyle.

Once home she followed through with her commitment and she began her Viniyoga training with Esther Myers in Canada and followed this by traveling to England to study with Paul Harvey, at that time head of Viniyoga Britain. And then, onto the American Viniyoga Institute Viniyoga Teacher training and straight through to Yoga Therapist training.

Jill and her husband have settled in rural Ontario. Jill helped found a Yoga Cooperative there where over 25 classes are offered weekly. Jill has developed two different yoga series for SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and persistent health concerns which she teaches at a rural community health centre. At this same centre she teaches smoking cessation, and diabetes workshops. She is currently developing workshops for single parents and underprivileged families.

She also teaches a healthy backs class in another doctor’s office as well as offering private sessions.

Every spring and fall Jill brings her love of nature and skills as a yoga therapist to her work as a leader of wilderness rites of passage with her husband, psychotherapist and author, Andy Fisher,PhD.

Of her AVI training, Jill says: “When you watch Gary working with a client, you see the many levels of his powers of observation. I feel grateful for the teachings I have received through Gary”. Clare Collins, AVI senior faculty, has been “a wonderful and supportive mentor. What we are doing with yoga therapy in Canada hasn’t been done before in this health care context and I appreciate Clare’s ability to understand a situation and suggest ways to deal with it effectively. All told, it’s an amazing journey”.

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